The second week of our Bali trip was a lot less travelling and a lot more R&R. Our friends described our vacation as a semi-active “Fly and Flop,” where the final week of the trip was a little bit of “flying” and a lot of flopping. After spending 3/4 of our time on the island of Bali, we purposely altered our route to take us off the island and away to the Gili Islands, inspired by a photo I had seen of white sand beaches and beautiful clear turquoise water. I mean, how could you not?
So here’s how the second week played out:
Days 7, 8 & 9: After catching some waves and eating my way through Canggu (Reid was still feeling under the weather), we moved on to Seminyak. In comparison to places like Kuta and Legian, Seminyak is fairly quiet although still a party town. Seminyak felt a lot like Puerto Vallarta — think taco stands, cornrows and lots of burned tourists — but luckily the hotel we stayed at was far enough off the main streets that you didn’t see or hear all the partiers from your room, but were still close enough that you could always join the party if you wanted!
The Royal Beach Seminyak was a slice of luxurious paradise and by far the most upscale place we stayed at the entire trip. It was similar to the all-inclusive hotel set ups in Mexico, complete with multiple pools, daily activities, breakfast buffets and nightly turndown service. What I loved most was that it was situated right on the beach, where you could walk endlessly along the surf without ever reaching the end. As I mentioned before, out of all the places this certainly was the most expensive, but if you time it right you can get an amazing deal that makes it manageable for most budgets. Flight Centre can always help you find a great deal!
What I loved most about our time here was the food! Seminyak is home to some of the most amazing, world renowned restaurants. Some of my favourites included Sisterfields, Nalu Bowls, Made’s Warung, Bo and Bun, and my favourite of the entire trip, Naughty Nuri’s Warung. Hands down the best pork ribs you’ll ever eat. Don’t get just one order, get two — you’ll be dreaming of them for the rest of your life! All of my food recommendations came from this comprehensive food guide courtesy of Lady Iron Chef. His recommendations are endless and I barely made a scratch on the first itinerary. As a heads up, unlike the rest of the places we visited, expect to pay North American prices for all your meals. Even the local warungs are more expensive than the rest of the island.
Days 10, 11, 12 & 13: After eating our way through Seminyak, we hopped on a Blue Water Express fast boat. After what seems like forever (in actual fact it was only 2 hours but I get sea sick) we landed on Gili Trawangan. Similar to the Ko islands in Thailand, these islands have a weeeeee bit of a reputation as party islands, especially Gili T. So us being the old folks that we are, booked a place on the quietest island there is: Gili Meno. Unfortunately the booking we made through Flight Centre/Buffalo Tours only covered the Bali-Gili T portion, so once we landed had to find a local boat to take us to the next island over.
In the end it was quite easy as there are lots of vendors on the main road. We ended up hiring a boat for around $30 CAD (which was expensive!) and a quick 5 minute boat ride later, we arrived on Gili Meno. As an FYI, if you’re heading to the Gili islands it’s best to carry a backpackers’ bag; many of the roads aren’t paved and we found that a lot of the time we were rolling/dragging our heavy suitcases through sand and occasionally shallow water.
But once we got there, it was so worth it. The island of Gili Meno and our hotel, Karma Reef, was my favourite part of the entire trip. The island itself is still underdeveloped and while there are numerous small guesthouses scattered around the island, there are very few established hotels. There are no cars allowed on the island, only horse and cart or your own two feet; it’s quiet, rustic and everything you would want for an adventurous spirit, honeymooner or diver. With crystal clear water, white sand beaches and the occasional turtle sighting, I literally could have stayed here forever.
Sadly all good things must come to an end, and after a glorious 2 weeks it was time for us to leave. We splurged on the way home with a small layover in Singapore (think Anthony Bourdain 36-hour type) literally so we could indulge in our favourite foods (as if we hadn’t eaten enough by now) and visit some family friends. I think our time in that tiny nation state deserves its own post, just for the food alone – what do you think? Have you enjoyed reading my posts this far? Let me know in the comments below.